Bonfire of the Vanities

To help prepare our mother for the transition into a senior living apartment in Iowa, one of the things my sister and I did out of necessity was to narrow down the belongings Mother had on her property in Indiana. Her house was packed to the gills with stuff. Treasured items from her past; garbage that she had not taken out in years; and things that were no longer identifiable due to decay or decomposition.

A LandfillAfter several trips to the landfill to dispose of the useless and the unrecognizable, there were still too many belongings to fit in her new abode. Also, some of the “treasures” she was clinging onto were of little use or meaning to her, such as the Hula Hoop she kept saying she was going to start using for exercise…one of these days. So my sister and I decided a yard sale was the quickest and easiest means of dealing with some of the piles of possessions.

I would love to say that the yard sale was a huge success and that we made oodles of money. However, that would be a lie. To begin with, after the sale was set up, it began to rain. The books were damaged beyond repair, though some of the jewelry was cleaner than it was when first offered up for sale. The clothing items were a complete loss.

A bonfire.

The yard sale ended up continuing for several days to no avail. Finally we just put everything in garbage bags to be hauled away. I suggested a bonfire but my sister felt the grass was too dry.

A list I had sent Mother weeks before our arrival requesting she take care of some business items had been ignored. She had done nothing to get ready and again expected my sister Abby and to would come to her rescue. Never taking responsibility for yourself is not a good way to live your life.

The work was back-breaking, the errands endless, and it seemed we were not making any progress until our cousins came to our rescue. They were real estate brokers and would sell the house for us and also agreed to help with the cleanup after we left. You might think that these cousins were kind beyond belief, but they were so eager to see Mother move away that they agreed to all this work just to see her reflection in the rear-view mirror.

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